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The Narrowing of Theoretical Orientations in Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training


Address correspondence to Laurie Heatherington, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Williams College, Williamstown, MA 01267. E-mail:


The focus of this article is the increasingly narrow range of therapeutic orientations represented in clinical psychology graduate training programs, particularly within the most research-oriented programs. Data on the self-reported therapeutic orientations of faculty at “clinical science” Ph.D. programs, Ph.D. programs at comprehensive universities in clinical and in counseling psychology, Psy.D. programs at comprehensive universities, and Ph.D. or Psy.D. programs at freestanding specialized institutions reveal a strong predominance of faculty with cognitive-behavioral orientations at the more science-focused programs, and a narrower range of orientations than in the more practice-focused programs. We discuss the implications of this trend for the future development of clinical psychology and provide suggestions for addressing the attendant concerns.